Breakout player - Rodolfo Castro
Rookie of the year and breakout player can be viewed as the same thing. Well, today, they are going to be two different things. Often times a breakout player is one who is no longer a rookie but still a young player. For the Pittsburgh Pirates that player will be Rodolfo Castro this season.
Down the stretch last season it could be argued that Castro's breakout began. Overall, he hit for a .233/.299/.427 slash line to go with a 103 wRC+ and 102 OPS+ in 278 plate appearances. This led to him being worth a 1.4 WAR. However, in his final 200 PAs after being recalled in early August, the switch-hitter hit for a .247/.310/.478 slash line with a very healthy .231 isolated slugging and a wRC+ of 119.
While the Pirates are still calling the second base job a battle that is up in the air, all signs point toward Castro winning the job. This is due to a combination of him having nothing left to prove in the minors and the success he had in the majors last season, especially down the stretch.
Castro is still just 23-years-old. He is a player with a very high ceiling. Castro can be a well above average offensive producer for the second base position, he can also be a slightly above average defender at second base.
Entering the 2023 season there may be some questions around the second base position long-term, but Castro will answer those questions with a breakout season where he grabs the position by the horns.